Health authorities in Queensland are scrambling to determine how the mutant UK coronavirus strain was transmitted from a Brisbane hotel worker to guests in mandatory quarantine.
The mystery surrounding how the cases were linked at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane has left Queenslanders fearing they could be on the brink of a hard lockdown.
Queensland Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeanette Young, explained on Wednesday contact tracers had yet to connect the known cases together.
The original case returned from the UK on December 30 and infected his partner, and a cleaner at the hotel then became infected.
“We’re still trying to work out how that happened. There’s nothing that we have been able to find so far that has linked that man with the cleaner,” Dr Young told reporters on Wednesday.
The cleaner went on to infect her partner, which was described as “not surprising”, however it’s not known how a man arriving from Lebanon and his daughter at the same hotel acquired the virus.
“Those six essentially have the same genome sequence, so we know they are linked. But we don’t know how they’re linked in terms of spread from one person to the next,” she said.
“We just know that in some way it has happened.”
Hotel guests moved, forced to start quarantine again
The full 129 guests have been moved out of the hotel and moved to another, where they will be tested and begin 14 days of quarantine over again. They won’t be charged for the hotel quarantine.
Floor seven was where the positive cases were acquired at the Hotel Grand Chancellor.
A total of 226 people have worked at the hotel since December 30 will be isolated and tested, while another 250 guests who have left the hotel since December 30 will be contacted and told to isolate while waiting for their test result.
Both Victoria and NSW have since issued alerts for people who may have returned to the respective states after staying at Hotel Grand Chancellor onwards from December 30.
Regardless of whether they have experienced symptoms, those who stayed at the hotel at any time between December 30 and January 13 have been asked to get tested.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Thursday she had “every confidence” people who had returned from Queensland and require testing would be found.
“If anybody does know of a friend or relative who was there please make sure they have had the test and are isolating for 14 days,” Ms Berejiklian told Nine’s Today program.
“I have every confidence we will capture every person in that situation.”
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